Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Black Farmers Seek Environmental and Economic Justice

I just discovered the Black Farmers website and found it to be pretty informative. Dr. John Boyd Jr., founder and president of the Virginia based organization, is aggressively pursuing economic and environmental justice for the black farmer. He has been effective in networking and building local and national relationships for the benefit of his membership. On the environmental front, he is currently seeking to ensure access to seeds that have not been genetically engineered. Once farmers agree to use bio engineered seeds (soy, corn, peanuts crops that are highly resistant to pesticides, thus encouraging greater pesticide use), they are allegedly beholden to big agribusinesses like Monsanto, which is the largest producer of these kinds of products. Many European and Asian companies refuse to purchase anything other than products derived from conventional seeds. Read the book, "Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots", for more information on corporate control of our food supply. Cotton is the latest crop subject to bioengineering as the result of a merger between Monsanto and the largest cotton seed developer, Delta and Pine Land. The concern is that Monsanto will limit the production of conventional cotton seeds which are cheaper for farmers and increase distribution of bioseeds. This potentially will further strain already tight finances for black farmers. For more information on the plight and fights of the black farmer, check out the website.

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